Biomarkers of response to ibrutinib plus nivolumab in relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, or Richter's transformation

Brendan P. Hodkinson, Michael Schaffer, Joshua D. Brody, Wojciech Jurczak, Cecilia Carpio, Dina Ben-Yehuda, Irit Avivi, Ann Forslund, Muhit Özcan, John Alvarez, Rob Ceulemans, Nele Fourneau, Anas Younes, Sriram Balasubramanian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We analyzed potential biomarkers of response to ibrutinib plus nivolumab in biopsies from patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma (FL), and Richter's transformation (RT) from the LYM1002 phase I/IIa study, using programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immunohistochemistry, whole exome sequencing (WES), and gene expression profiling (GEP). In DLBCL, PD-L1 elevation was more frequent in responders versus nonresponders (5/8 [62.5%] vs. 3/16 [18.8%]; p = 0.065; complete response 37.5% vs. 0%; p = 0.028). Overall response rates for patients with WES and GEP data, respectively, were: DLBCL (38.5% and 29.6%); FL (46.2% and 43.5%); RT (76.5% and 81.3%). In DLBCL, WES analyses demonstrated that mutations in RNF213 (40.0% vs. 6.2%; p = 0.055), KLHL14 (30.0% vs. 0%; p = 0.046), and LRP1B (30.0% vs. 6.2%; p = 0.264) were more frequent in responders. No responders had mutations in EBF1, ADAMTS20, AKAP9, TP53, MYD88, or TNFRSF14, while the frequency of these mutations in nonresponders ranged from 12.5% to 18.8%. In FL and RT, genes with different mutation frequencies in responders versus nonresponders were: BCL2 (75.0% vs. 28.6%; p = 0.047) and ROS1 (0% vs. 50.0%; p = 0.044), respectively. Per GEP, the most upregulated genes in responders were LEF1 and BTLA (overall), and CRTAM (germinal center B-cell–like DLBCL). Enriched pathways were related to immune activation in responders and resistance-associated proliferation/replication in nonresponders. This preliminary work may help to generate hypotheses regarding genetically defined subsets of DLBCL, FL, and RT patients most likely to benefit from ibrutinib plus nivolumab.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100977
JournalTranslational Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors


  • Biomarkers
  • Ibrutinib
  • Nivolumab
  • Non-hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Phase I/II trial


Dive into the research topics of 'Biomarkers of response to ibrutinib plus nivolumab in relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, or Richter's transformation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this